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Coronavirus: Italy in full lockdown, Israel 14-days quarantine, Vietnam blocks UK passport holders

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There were three core travel-related coronavirus updates on Monday evening.

All of Italy has been placed under lockdown

The ‘lockdown’ in place in Northern Italy will be extended to the entire country on Tuesday morning.

It is not yet clear what the impact on travel will be.  It is very likely that the majority of flights from the UK to Italy will have to be suspended, as happened on Sunday evening to Milan and Venice.

All visitors to Israel must undergo 14 days enforced quarantine

As was rumoured, the Israeli Government will make everyone wishing to enter the country – from any destination – undergo 14 days quarantine.

If you cannot prove on arrival that you have arranged to spend 14 days in quarantine in a private house, you will not be allowed entry.

It is not clear at this point if all flights will be suspended although it seems likely.  It is possible, for example, that the aircraft could fly down with the return crew onboard.  Regulations forbid the same crew from returning immediately due to the length of the flight.

As of 10pm on Monday, Virgin Atlantic is still showing Tel Aviv flights as departing but is not selling any tickets.  British Airways was still selling tickets.

Here is the Foreign Office guidance:

On 9 March 2020 Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that all arrivals entering Israel from overseas would be subject to home quarantine measures for 14 days on public health grounds, this decision will be reviewed in 14 days. We understand that visitors who are unable to demonstrate they can undertake the home quarantine measures will be refused entry in to Israel. We recommend checking Israel’s Ministry of Health website for updated information.

UK citizens banned from Vietnam due to coronavirus

Vietnam bans UK passport holders from entering the country without a visa

EDIT:  The UK Government is now stating that the enforcement of this rule has been pushed back to Friday, presumably because passengers are already in transit.

Vietnam has suspended visa-free travel for UK passport holders.

The ban also applies to citizens of Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

Passport holders from all of the eight countries will no longer qualify for the ‘visa waiver’ programme which allows a stay of up to 15 days.  Bans on travellers from South Korea and Italy are already in place.

Anyone with flight tickets to Vietnam will now need to apply for a visa (e-visa is not acceptable) via the Embassy in Kensington.  It is not clear under what circumstances a visa would be granted to a UK passport holder as it is impossible to guarantee you will be free of coronavirus on the day you fly.

British Airways does not fly to Vietnam, with Vietnam Airlines offering the only direct flights.

Here is the official Foreign Office wording – this was issued on Sunday before the imposition of the ban on Monday:

The Vietnamese authorities are implementing extensive steps to mitigate the risks of infection, including health screening at airports and land borders. People showing signs of respiratory illness on arrival in Vietnam, those who have travelled from an area with confirmed cases or those that have come in to contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus can expect to be checked and potentially quarantined. Anyone confirmed as having coronavirus, including foreigners, can expect to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities.

The Vietnamese authorities have also announced travel restrictions and quarantine requirements:

On 8 March, the Vietnamese Government announced plans to suspend the visa waiver programme for UK and other European nationals. This change could be implemented at very short notice. British citizens planning to enter Vietnam on the visa waiver programme should check before travelling.

Anyone who has visited China, Iran, Italy or Daegu city and Gyeongsangbuk province in South Korea in the previous 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam. The only exceptions will be people with specific agreement travelling on official government business.

Flights from South Korea are being diverted to alternative airports, some a considerable distance away from the scheduled place of entry in to Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government has recommended that citizens wear masks in public, and it has introduced special permits for anyone seeking to organise large public events.

Comments (106)

  • AJA says:

    The Guardian just reported:
    “Kensington and Chelsea in London is the UK local authority with the biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections, according to data just released by the Department of Health and Social Care.

    DHSC just updated its breakdown of cases by local authority, which now shows the number of cases in each area as of 9am this morning. Five new cases were detected in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the UK’s wealthiest areas, bringing the total in the borough to 13.”

    Ironic really with Vietnam insisting that you have to apply for a visa in person at their embassy in Kensington.

  • Jon says:

    I called up HSBC Premier Travel insurance as I’m supposed to fly to Vietnam on Saturday (via Thailand – I’m currently en route).

    They won’t cover even though I think it would be impossible for me to get a visa in that space of time.

    They just kept to the wording of the FCO website i.e. it’s not saying no travel / all but essential travel

    • Rob says:

      It is a general rule of travel insurance that the traveller is responsible for having the correct paperwork. Obviously it was never design for this sort of situation but that is where it comes from.

  • Nick says:

    This website is where you are directed to and I believe this is an e-Visa. I’ve just filled it out and it’s been approved so I’m not sure where the info about attending the embassy directly comes from as this is not on the website, nor are any details regarding tourists without arranged tours. As such I’m carrying on as normal. Very confusing with different information being put out. Check yourself rather than allowing someone to interpret the information given! Happy holidays and wash your hands the world will be a better place.

  • Nick says:

    https://www.vietnamofficialvisa.com/apply

    This is the link it’s £79 a pop though!

  • Clive says:

    Just found another news article with wording I don’t like at all as the UK has been added to that list along with the 7 other countries:

    https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-scraps-visa-waiver-for-south-koreans-italians-of-vietnamese-origin-4066018.html

    It has also ordered the quarantining of everyone coming from South Korea, Iran, Italy, and mainland China for 14 days on arrival. In the case of arrivals from other countries, people from stricken areas are quarantined.

  • Gary Colclough says:

    The Vietnamese authorities are not issuing any new visas, even applications from (th were refused and people at embassy turned away today

    We are supposed to go Saturday and now looks like we aren’t going, people on pther groups reporting insurers refusing claims as it’s a visa issue and not a travel ban but if no one can get a visa then how is that not a ban ?

  • Steve says:

    Hi, We’ve got a hotel booking in italy in May but I used the last of my tesco clubcard points to pay for it. Where would I stand with an insurance claim now the country has been delcared a no go zone by the FCO.

  • Pogonation says:

    Just been denied boarding at MNL for MNL-SGN with PR. Showed them the UK gov website that says the restriction doesn’t come into effect until 12th March but no help. Now hoping e-visa comes through in next few hours so I can make the 12:30